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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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Propaganda among these men seemed worthless, and after a few
attempts, the N.K.V.D. abandoned it in order to make stronger efforts
with regard to the officers. The latter fell into two categories. The first
group consisted of the few who had passed through the same experiences
as the privates; and the second were the men who had been detained in
prisoner-of-war camps and had managed to survive. Although living
under hard conditions they had not been so physically ill-used or so
exhausted by starvation as the others,and left together in the camps they had
the time and opportunity to discuss their ultimate destiny. These could
be, and indeed were tempted by the Russians. As far back as the winter
of 1939 the N.K.V.D. tried to seek out among those officers and privates
some men who might be induced to join their ranks. They discovered
about ten officers, several N.COs. and a number of privates who, still
under the influence of the defeat of 19393 had lost their faith in the resurrec-
tion of Poland and who showed some inclination towards the Communist
creed. This group, led by the retired Lieutenant-Colonel Berling, were
removed from their prison camps and sent on a special course near Moscow
where they were trained as intelligence agents to be used in German-
occupied Poland. After the Soviets had concluded the Pact with the
Polish Government in 1941, these men presented themselves to the
Polish authorities, declaring their loyalty and willingness to serve in the
Army. They encountered a strong feeling of hostility, but General
Anders, however, decided that their former activities and treason must be
overlooked for the common cause, and that they must receive the same
treatment as the rest. Therefore, they were admitted into the Army,
while Berling was nominated Chief-of-Staif of the 5th Infantry Division,
The N.K.V.D., to further its espionage in the Polish forces, tried
to make some use of the men whom they hadc trained.' But the followers
of Berling were dispersed throughout various units where they could not,
or apparently did not wish to do much harm. Some them even
confessed to their superior officers the role they were supposed to play.
When in February, 1942, it had been established without a question of
doubt that Berling was in league with the N.K.V.D., his Divisional
Commander, General Boruta Spiechowiez released him forthwith from
his duties. The NJK..V.D. reacted strongly against this action and General
Zhukov personally came to the Polish Commander to ascertain the reason
for Berling's dismissal.
There were other attempts on the part of the N.K.V.D. to intervene
in the internal affairs of the Polish Army. They evinced special anxiety
when a small four-page Polish weekly (" Orzel Polski"" Polish Eagle ")
began to appear on December mL, 1941. Each editorial was accom-
panied by strong protests from the authorities of the N.K.V.D., not so
much for its actual contents, as for what, according to the Soviet authori-
ties, it did not contain. They considered all newspapers published in
their country should be Soviet Communist ones, even if written in another